In the year 2013, Ella Marija Lani Yelich-O’Connor took the world by storm when she dropped her chart-topping single “Royals”, she was just 16. She released her debut album, “Pure Heroine” soon after and it did remarkably well, commercially and critically. She became the Billie Eilish of the early 2010s, the Olivia Rodrigo of her time. She was a young, stunning, brilliant songwriter and artist and nobody could stop her. Her raspy unconventional voice and style of music endeared her to the general audience, she was on top of the world and she was never coming down.
In 2017, she released her sophomore album, Melodrama which did even more remarkably well, achieving widespread critical acclaim and immense success, it debuted atop the US BB200 and was nominated for Album Of The Year for the 2017 Grammys Awards.
Soon after dropping Melodrama, Lorde went off the grid. We heard nothing from her, not news of a new single or a new album, not even paparazzi pictures. Later in 2020, in a newsletter to her fans, Lorde announced that she was working on a new album that would soon be released and fans were excited, as expected. There were expectations that the album would be released in 2020 but that obviously didn’t happen.
So, here we are, almost 4 years after her Melodrama, with her single “Solar Power” out ahead of her upcoming 3rd studio album which is to be released on the 20th of August, 2021. Solar Power was released on the 10th of June and I like any other fan rushed to listen to it. On first listen, I was underwhelmed, the song didn’t quite hit, either because of the sky-high expectations I had for the song or because it truly was an underwhelming song. The song is a far cry from the expectations of fans, its aura is different from her usual projects. Her music has always had an edgy feel to it. This new single on the other hand sounded summery, light, and airy. It seemed like Lorde had found peace with the world and was now embracing nature and all it had to give. The song still retains Lorde’s unconventional style or maybe it’s the Jack Antonoff production but has somehow lost the quality of the introspective lyrics she’s known for.
On second listen, I realised that the song wasn’t a bad song, it was just not exceptional. The theme of the song wasn’t exactly “the new big thing.” It was something we’d heard before. Her delivery though was interesting and a bit refreshing. Overall, it wasn’t a bad song, it was actually quite fun to listen to, especially the outro which was the climax of the song.
Given Lorde’s track record, it wasn’t unexpected that fans expected more. It’s too early to say anything conclusive about this new era of Lorde because the album isn’t out yet. About the album, Lorde in an interview with Apple Music said “I’m one who has to go away and figure it out and I’ll be back and I’ll bring you a full universe when I come back, but it takes me a minute,” she said. “And I feel like you can hear that in the work and the whole album. When we do sit down and talk about it, it just felt light and casual and playful, and that’s the zone that I’m in.”
“The album is a celebration of the natural world, an attempt at immortalizing the deep, transcendent feelings I have when I’m outdoors,” Lorde said of the album. “In times of heartache, grief, deep love, or confusion, I look to the natural world for answers. I’ve learned to breathe out, and tune in. This is what came through.” So we definitely know the album isn’t going angsty but she promises that she’ll give us the full universe, so fingers crossed for that.